The 2 Best Definitions for Content Strategy (and The Key to Making Sure You Have a Real Strategy and Not “Just Content”)

Let’s define content strategy.

Content strategy is two things:

First, it’s a process.

Defined this way, content strategy is an ongoing planning process that uses content as the primary vehicle for achieving business outcomes. 

Second, it’s a map.

Defined this way, content strategy is a roadmap for how content will be created and deployed to achieve business outcomes.

So in that way, content strategy is both a verb and a noun.

If someone ever asks, “What does your content strategist do all day?” It would be accurate to say she’s working on the strategy.

But if someone asks, “Where’s the content strategy?” It would make sense to forward them a spreadsheet. (Or an actual treasure map, if you’re so inclined.)

And finally, if you were watching a movie called, “Content Strategist in Action,” you’d probably see a person staring at a spreadsheet while visions of Rubbermaid containers and northbound express trains flash across the strategist’s mental screen.

What a Content Strategist Actually Does

A content strategist must know and be in tune with the company’s larger goals, so that every marketing campaign contributes to the overall picture. 

You never want a campaign to run in isolation because you forfeit the leverage that’s gained by the “whole being greater than the sum of the parts.”

You also want to have internal consistency within the campaign. Great content deployed at the wrong time can tank your results, short term and long term.

Here’s a list of things that may be included in your strategy, but aren’t the strategy itself:

  • Content audit
  • Editorial calendar
  • Content creation
  • Content design
  • Repurposed content
  • Isolated content pieces… no matter how useful and usable they are.

Takeaway: Your content strategy must start with a business objective. Otherwise, it’s just content.

(Photo by Campaign Creators on Unsplash)

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